Every now and then there comes a film that looks sellable after unveiling its trailer, but disappoints on its release. Netflix’s Extraction is one such film that despite featuring Chris Hemsworth (Thor) in the lead, Randeep Hooda (Highway) in a supporting role and David Harbour (Stranger Things) and Pankaj Tripathi (Sacred Games) in cameo roles, faltered big time.
The reason behind its colossal failure was the fact that it was marketed as a Hollywood film shot in India, but it turned out to be a B grade Bollywood flick with a Hollywood star in the lead, written by a successful Hollywood duo (Russo Brothers) and executed by a first-time director (Sam Hargrave) who spent his energies on only action scenes.
Former black-market mercenary Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) has been hired to rescue the Ovi Mahajan Jr. (Rudhraksh Jaiswal), the son of an Indian drug lord Ovi Mahajan Sr. (Pankaj Tripathi) who has been captured by Bangladesh's powerful drug lord, Amir Asif (Priyanshu Painyuli). Things change drastically when Mahajan's henchman Saju (Randeep Hooda) decides to take matters in his own hand and rescue the kid so that he doesn't have to pay Nik Khan (Golshifteh Farahani) and her team. Does Tyler manage to escape from the heavily-guarded city or does Indian drug lord lose his only son to a fight between two rivals, watch Extraction to find out.
The film’s action sequences are not just top-notch but too good to ignore; there is a continuous one-take shot that is 12-minute long and only the prying eyes can find out how the director managed to cheat his way during the take. The one-take is long enough to include multiple things that are usually found in a film, scattered in three different acts. There is a car chase where Tyler is on the run from the law enforcement agencies, followed by a foot chase, a terrible road accident, followed by another car chase, with breaks featuring gun battles, knife fights, hand-to-hand combat and finally, an explosion that brings an end to it all.
Every fight sequence in the movie is of international level and would help the local industry (read Bollywood) a lot in learning tricks of the trade, whereas the audience also got to witness something they only did in unfamiliar surroundings. And yes, the stunning Golshifteh Farahani is a sight for sore eyes not because of her beauty but because she is the only person who looks her character in the entire flick.
The story seems straight from the 1980s when Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone used to kill men at will; the ‘extraction’ is the modern-day method of saving your loved-one, a formula that Die Hard and its many clones followed in the 1990s; even the start seems like something from a Bollywood flick (watch Kabza featuring Sanjay Dutt) where Chris Hemsworth is resting after a battle in which he was the one shooting, and the others were there to get shot, not fight back. Then there was the casting – Pankaj Tripathi is nowhere to be found in the film except for one scene at the beginning; Randeep Hooda comes across as a wannabe newcomer who wants to impress all; David Harbour is wasted in the minor role while Priyanshu Painyuli forgot that it was an international film he was working in, and acted as if he was still acting in Bollywood. Chris Hemsworth must have done the film to please his Avengers directors but he could have said no to what turned out to be a bad script and worse execution.
Every supporting character including the guy with a Joker-like scar acted as if they were auditioning for the movie instead of working in it. And that includes the ‘package’, played by the expressionless Rudhraksh Jaiswal. If I was ever in a position to rescue someone like him, I would rather sit back than step up, because he carried just one expression, looked clueless and must have been the drug lord’s adopted son as he inherited no qualities from his father. The film felt like a drag from the moment he was rescued; had it been a 45-minute TV show, it might have done well but with the makers throwing everything including a kitchen sink, it felt as if you were at the receiving end!
The Verdict – Super Disappointing!
If you want to enjoy Extraction, approach it as a Bollywood flick with international cast and crew than the other way round. The below-par performance, over-the-top story, and unrealistic situations were few of the things that went wrong. The ending was confusing for an unknown reason and now we hear that the film will have a sequel as if the original wasn’t bad.
It seemed more like a debut director’s obsession to do everything in a film than a flick that followed a well-thought-out script. There was absolutely no difference between Indians and Bangladeshis in the movie which shows the director’s seriousness of the subject. Avoid at all costs, otherwise, you will not be able to extract the bad memories it will leave on your mind.